CROWDS maintained social distancing as they gathered to pay their respects to fallen servicemen on Remembrance Sunday.

Veterans and members of the general public attended an unofficial service at 11am on Sunday November 8, after BCP Council advised people to pay tribute to loved ones and former military personnel from their homes.

BCP Council held short private services in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch an hour earlier, which were attended by a small civic party including the Mayors.

Armed forces champion for the conurbation Cllr David Kelsey said: “It is a really good turnout under the circumstances

“Everyone is correctly following the social distancing guidelines as they should be and paid their respects in a fitting manner.

“I am really proud of the way people have conducted themselves.”

Insight security guards, police personnel and Covid marshals watched on as the people watch wreaths being laid by members of the armed forces.

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The crowd fell silent at 11am as the Last Post was played through a bystander’s mobile phone.

Cllr Kelsey added: “It is going to take more than a virus to stop these veterans paying their respects to their comrades.”

“We knew people would come down here, we didn’t want to turn them away as they want to do it and you can’t stop them.

“We have had a mixture of different regiments represented today, we have had Gurkhas, riflemen, Royal Navy soldiers and tank regiments here today. It has been a really good cross section of our country’s armed forces.”

Among those in attendance was Named Retired RAF Officer Philip Pring, from Springbourne, who served for 35 years.

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Philip Pring, who has been selling poppies in Bournemouth Town Centre and ASDA in Lansdowne for nearly 20 years, said that whilst this year’s fundraiser has been different, there was still plenty of support for this year’s Poppy Appeal.

He added: “We were very fortunate that Asda chose to let us put up our table at the entrance of the store for one week. All the other superstores turned us down this year.

“We are normally there for three weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday, but we only had one week which was a shame.

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“People were still very generous, and we had a lot of customer come over to us and donate.

“One older lady was absolutely amazing. Whilst I was talking to a gentleman, she came up behind me and put some notes in my hand. She signed for me to put it in the pot and I looked down to see £70 in my hand.”

Elsewhere in the conurbation, schools, care homes and community groups produced displays to mark Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day.

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Friends of Sterte in Poole created a poppy display for Remembrance Sunday. Many residents contributed plastic bottles which were then cut down to make the poppies, whilst others contributed funds for purchase a 'lest we forget' garden statue.

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Residents from Primrose Lodge in Southbourne have been making poppies out of recycled plastic bottles and old cardboard boxes to put on their display. All 16 residents got involved, including the homes eldest resident, 107-year-old Edith, who got stuck in with some painting.